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Stuffed Pepper Meatloaf – all the makings of a stuffed pepper wrapped up in a moist and tender meatloaf. Filled with rice and spices, and then topped off with green peppers and a tomato glaze. Stuffed peppers made easy and delicious!

A plate stuffed pepper meatloaf over mashed potatoes served with fresh green beans.

So many people think meatloaf is just a big ‘ol hamburger, but really that isn’t true at all. It should not taste like a burger. It should take on the flavor profiles of all the spices and add-ins creating a taste of its own, like these Mini BBQ Bacon Cheddar Meatloaves or Instant Pot Meatloaf and Potatoes! And in this case, it’s a Stuffed Pepper explosion of flavor!

Growing up I am not sure I fully appreciated stuffed peppers as much as I do now. I always seemed to eat the insides and left the pepper, but all the flavors that made their way inside were what made it so so good!

Now I eat it all up, what about you?

This one even my “won’t touch a stuffed pepper” son loves! So hopefully your picky eaters will enjoy it too! It sure has been a big family hit at our house and it’s big on flavor y’all!

Ingredients

Labeled image of stuffed pepper ingredients
  • Ground Round
  • Instant Rice
  • Onion
  • Egg
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Bouillon
  • Garlic
  • Green Bell Pepper – You can also use red, yellow, or orange bell peppers too.
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
Stuffed peppers meatloaf situation on a plate at a table setting.

How to make stuffed pepper meatloaf

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Adjust the rack to the middle position. If using a sheet pan line with foil for easy cleanup. If using a dutch oven or pan, you can skip lining the pan if desired.
Step-by-step images of making meatloaf.

For the topping

  • Wash and slice green peppers.
  • In a medium bowl mix topping ingredients (except for green peppers) – crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and salt to taste.

For the meatloaf

  • In a large bowl mix the meatloaf mixture ingredients – ground beef, instant rice, grated onion, egg, garlic, bullion, and black pepper. I find using your hands is the easiest way to combine.
  • Place meatloaf in pan and shape into a loaf.
  • Top the meatloaf with sliced green peppers and pour the tomato mixture over the peppers. (alternately, if you prefer you can mix the peppers in with the tomato mixture and spoon over the top you can)
  • Cover with foil or oven-safe lid and cook for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook the remainder of the time (30 to 45 minutes) or until done. An instant-read thermometer should read 155° to 160° when done. I check at the 1-hour mark with a thermometer as the shape of the meatloaf and oven times vary.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Fresh out of the oven meatloaf in a blue stoneware baking dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my meatloaf fall apart?

A meatloaf will fall apart because the mixture wasn’t mixed together well enough or it wasn’t pressed together firmly. Using a loaf pan can also help hold it together.

Do you have to use a loaf pan?

For this recipe, I actually do not. There are plenty of juices
When you free form a meatloaf, often the ends/edges are a little more done than the center. This is perfect for our family because some people like crispy edges and some like the juicier center.

Using a loaf pan will keep the meatloaf more consistent throughout and it will be

Should you cover the meatloaf when baking?

Typically no! However, if the meatloaf or toppings are browning too quickly you can cover them for part of the time.

This meatloaf has green peppers on top therefore, I cook it covered for the first 45 minutes and leave it uncovered for the remainder of the time. This will give the top time to caramelize but not overcook the inside.

How long should you cook stuffed pepper meatloaf?

A typical meatloaf, when baked in a loaf pan or shaped on a baking sheet, should bake at 350° for 1 to 1 ½ hours. That is 35 to 45 minutes per pound.

Test internal temperature using an instant-read thermometer. It should register 160° for a beef meatloaf when done.

The shape of the meatloaf can also affect cook time. If you cook in a loaf pan and have a taller meatloaf it may take a little longer. I like to check at 1 hour with an internal instant-read thermometer to see where it is in the cooking stage. You don’t want it overdone as it can dry out.

It also continues cooking a little as it rests, so you can remove it when it is in the 155° to 160° range.

Meatloaf topped with peppers and tomatoes on a bed of mashed potatoes and a side of green beans.

Tips

  • A tastier, juicier meatloaf – The secret to making a meatloaf taste great is using good quality, fresh beef. I like a ground round or a 15% fat content. It’s still leaner than regular ground beef, but this lends to tons of flavor.
  • Make sure to use Instant Rice. If you use regular rice it won’t cook enough. If you just don’t have it at home, in a pinch use pre-cook rice. Just cook it to al dente.
  • Make sure to not over-mix. Overmixing can make it tough. You want to mix it until everything is nice and combined so that it will hold its shape and stay together.
  • A few cracks are ok! Flavor drips down into them! That’s a good thing!
  • Bouillon powder – replace salt with bouillon powder for even more flavor! You can use beef, chicken or vegetable. If you don’t have it the salt substitution is 1 tsp salt (or to taste).
  • Grating your onion – This is something I started doing honestly to trick my kids when they were younger. I also found it makes the meatloaf more tender. It adds the flavor without the chunks of onion showing up too!
  • If you want a caramelized topping, you can place it under the broiler a couple of minutes after cooking. Just keep an eye on it!
  • Let your meatloaf rest before cutting. Let it rest for 10 minutes to allow the juices to distribute. This makes for a more delicious meatloaf.

What to serve with meatloaf

More timeless meals made with ground beef

If you love ground beef recipes check out these 20 plus Ground Beef Recipes!

Meatloaf with all the flavors of stuffed peppers on top of mashed potatoes and a side of green beans.

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A plate stuffed pepper meatloaf over mashed potatoes served with fresh green beans.
Recipe
5 from 11 votes

(click stars to rate)

Stuffed Pepper Meatloaf

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: Nikki Lee
Stuffed Pepper Meatloaf – all the makings of a stuffed pepper wrapped up in a moist and tender meatloaf. Filled with rice, spices and then topped off with green peppers and a tomato glaze. Stuffed peppers made easy and delicious!
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Ingredients 

Meatloaf Mixture

  • 2 pounds ground round beef
  • 1 cup instant rice
  • ½ medium onion, grated
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ fresh minced garlic
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes, granulated
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Topping

  • 1 large green bell pepper, sliced (any color bell pepper works)
  • 1 – 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt, or to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a medium bowl mix topping ingredients (except for green peppers) – crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and salt.
  • In a large bowl combine meatloaf mixture ingredients – ground beef, instant rice, grated onion, egg, garlic, bullion and black pepper. I find using your hands is easiest way to combine.
  • In a casserole dish, dutch oven, loaf pan or sheet pan – form a loaf.
  • Top the meatloaf with sliced green peppers and pour tomato mixture over the peppers. (alternately, if you prefer you can mix the peppers in with tomato mixture and spoon over the top you can)
  • Cover with foil or over safe lid and cook for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook remainder of time (30 to 45 minutes) or until done. An instant read thermometer should read 155° to 160° when done. I check to 1 hour mark with thermometer as shape of meatloaf and oven times vary.
  • Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

✱ Nikki’s Tips

  • A tastier, juicier meatloaf – The secret to making a meatloaf taste great is using good quality, fresh beef. I like a ground round or a 15% fat content. It’s still leaner than regular ground beef, but this lends to tons of flavor.
  • Make sure to use Instant Rice. If you use a regular rice it won’t cook enough. If you just don’t have it at home, in a pinch use pre-cook rice. Just cook it to al dente.
  • Make sure to not over-mix. Overmixing can make it tough. You want to mix it until everything is nice and combined so that it will hold its shape and stay together.
  • A few cracks are ok! Flavor leaks down into them! That’s a good thing!
  • Bouillon powder – replace salt with bouillon powder for even more flavor! You can use beef, chicken, or vegetable. If you don’t have it the salt substitution is 1 tsp salt (or to taste).
  • Grating your onion – This is something I started doing honestly to trick my kids when they were younger. I also found it makes the meatloaf more tender. It adds the flavor without the chunks of onion showing up too!
  • If you want the topping more caramelized, you can place it under the broiler a couple of minutes after cooking. Just keep an eye on it!
  • Rest before cutting. Let it rest for 10 minutes to allow the juices to distribute. Makes for a more delicious meatloaf.
Adapted from An Affair from the Heart!

Nutrition Information

Serving: 11 serving Calories: 361kcal (18%) Carbohydrates: 11g (4%) Protein: 34g (68%) Fat: 19g (29%) Saturated Fat: 7g (44%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 124mg (41%) Sodium: 475mg (21%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 3g (3%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

©️Soulfully Made

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26 Comments

  1. I make a version of this. I use tomato soup, in the meatloaf and on top. I also put pepper jack cheese in the middle.

  2. I love Meatloaf, it’s so easy to make and always great for leftovers. You gave great directions and it was so delicious. YUMMY!

  3. You combined 2 of my favorite foods here. I could eat stuffed peppers or meatloaf every single night and now I don’t have to choose!!!!!

  4. Huge meatloaf fans here and this did not disappoint! My family loved this recipe and we’ll definitely be making it again soon! Thanks for the easy to follow instructions too! So yummy!

  5. This looks like a great family dinner idea and I love all the helpful tips you’ve shared, too! Kudos on your photos — this meatloaf looks amazing!

    1. Thank you Sheila! Meatloaf is one of those things that is a little difficult to make look beautiful, but it sure does taste yummy!

  6. I have to admit that I am not a huge meatloaf fan but this one looks and sounds really delicious! Gonna have to try it!

  7. This meatloaf was delicious! I love the glaze on top and the extra boost of flavor from the veggies! Such a nice change from my regular meatloaf!

  8. My mind is BLOWN about the rice in this meatloaf! SUCH a brilliant addition and also, the pepper and onion and everything else. This is simply SO good.

  9. This is such a great idea! I love all the flavors of classic meatloaf stuffed into a pepper! Making this one night this week for dinner and I can’t wait! Great recipe!

  10. I love meatloaf and stuffed peppers! What a genius combo! My husband doesn’t really like peppers but this way I know he will eat this!

  11. You literally chose one of my family’s MOST favorite meals! ANYTIME I ask for dinner suggestions this one gets mentioned — I am so happy that you and yours loved it just as much!

    1. Michaela thank you for a wonderful recipe to share for our blog hop! It is absolutely delicious! We all love it so much! It will be enjoyed many times over! Meal memories are just at important to me like they are for you! This one will bring a sweet friend to mind each time we gather around our table!